Oddly enough, I don’t remember the exact day I met The B’s. I don’t remember the day of the week or the time or even the actual date itself. It was at the very beginning of June, but that’s all I can remember. I find that weird – I generally remember the huge days in my life, and this was definitely one of them.
We met at the adoption agency in my hometown. Bethany Christian Services has offices all over the U.S. and there was one near where The B’s live, too, but they decided to come to me. My counselor told me that it would be good for C to meet them as well, so he was set to be there, too.
I got there a little early. I sat in my car for a very long time, hands on the wheel, staring out the windshield. To an outside observer, it probably looked as though I was getting ready to drive away. Subconsciously, maybe I was. Meeting The B’s made it real. It made the fact that one day you would leave me, real. Too real. More real than I think I was ready for. But pregnancy is a “ready or not” kind of situation, so I got ready. I had to. I was going to meet these people and I was going to be poised and sophisticated when I did it.
When C arrived he got me out of the car and walked me inside. I hadn’t seen him since mid-April so the fact that he was there felt like another weight, just adding on to the heaviness of the day. I know that sounds weird, but that’s what I felt like that day before I met them – heavy. Tired. Not physically, but mentally. I knew that the day would emotionally exhaust me because it was a pinnacle, a turning point. The day when I would finally have to come to terms with the fact that you would not always be mine. That in and of itself was so sad to me, it almost kept me in my car the whole day.
I walked inside and my counselor led me to the conference room where everyone was set to meet. I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. It was like a tidal wave – looking back I can almost see it in a physical form, just rushing at me. I started to cry. I started to cry a lot. I ran outside the office and into the stairwell. I leaned against the wall, cradled my stomach, and cried some more. I couldn’t stop. I remember trying to steady myself…taking deep breaths, forcing up a dam for the tears. I felt so ridiculous for being so emotional.
I didn’t want to meet The B’s like this. I didn’t want to meet them with tears streaming down my face, with red puffy eyes, with a demeanor that always seemed to be on the verge falling apart. I wanted to be cool, calm and collected. I wanted to be strong. I wanted them to like me. I didn’t want to scare them. I knew that all adoptive families must be afraid of failed adoptions and a birth mother who’s bawling during the first meeting about the impending separation from her child…not generally a good sign. I wanted to make a good impression. I would not meet them like that. I just wouldn’t.
Eventually I calmed myself and came back inside. Our meeting started about 30 to 45 minutes late due to the crying jag, but when they walked in, I think I looked alright. My very first thought was, “They look just like their pictures.” They had brought a box of cookies from Atlanta Bread Company. They hugged me to say hello instead of shaking hands. This was my first experience with a hug from J – as I’m sure you’ve learned, they’re the best hugs in the world. So tight and full of love that you can’t doubt the power and strength behind them or the woman who gives them.
I won’t lie – before that hug, my guard was up. I was already on the defensive walking into that conference room, ready for some sort of two-way interrogation. I didn’t know what to expect. Being vulnerable was not and has never been something that I am comfortable with, but I had never felt more vulnerable in my life than I did at that point. I had been a mess all day, I had just spent the past 20 minutes crying and C…well, he was not supportive at all to me at that point in time. I felt very alone, surrounded by people I didn’t feel as though I could truly lean on. I remember wishing for my mommy.
Of course, as would be the first of many times, my worries were proven to be pointless in the face of The B’s. I felt peaceful after that first “J-hug.” I’ll tell you all about our actual meeting in tomorrow’s letter, but I want you to know this – you were the reason I was strong enough to get out of that car. You were the reason I was able to put on a brave face. You kicked me the whole time I cried that day. Knowing that you were there…that day you reminded me that there are things worth being brave for. This certainly turned out to be one of them. You are certainly one of them.
Or maybe you were just kicking me because you were so ready to meet your new family. I like that explanation, too :)